Cultural Landscapes

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2022) | Viewed by 20822

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Applied Landscape Ecology Lab, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University, 1-13-27 Kasuga, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8551, Japan
Interests: ecosystem functions and ecosystem services in cultural landscapes; sustainable land management; ecology of wetlands; palaeoecology; science policy interfaces
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Fujisawa, Japan
Interests: landscape ecology and planning; rural planning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cultural landscapes include a broad range of landscape types that share one common feature: they have been altered from their natural state to cater to human needs. Based on this general definition, rural areas used for agriculture and forestry as well as urban areas dominated by housing, industry, and technical infrastructure fall within the category of cultural landscapes.

Much of the scientific and political debate about sustainability focuses on the way we manage cultural landscapes. To provide scientifically sound information in support of decision-making to achieve sustainable lifestyles, links between ecological, social, and economic components of cultural landscapes need to be elucidated, and feedback mechanisms that determine how they develop through time need to be quantified.

Trends towards increasing the intensity of land use in many regions of the world are contrasted by land abandonment and depopulation in others. Deliberate measures to reduce land-use intensity or to “rewild” parts of cultural landscapes are also contributing to the complexity of development trajectories. This complexity presents challenges for decision-makers aiming to balance the multiple functions of cultural landscapes. The concept of ecosystem services provides a framework for the analysis of synergies and trade-offs among the different needs of human societies in relation to cultural landscapes.

This Special Issue focuses on innovative approaches that enhance our understanding of the functioning of cultural landscapes from local to regional scales. In addition to studies on the provision of and demand for ecosystem services in rural areas, analyses of interactions along rural–urban gradients are within its scope. Contributions that integrate different scientific disciplines and collaboration with practitioners as well as evidence pertaining to the effects of technological or social innovations on ecosystem services are particularly welcome.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Hotes
Prof. Dr. Tomohiro Ichinose
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

28 pages, 103479 KiB  
Article
Old Sacred Trees as Memories of the Cultural Landscapes of Southern Benin (West Africa)
by Massogblé M. Lucrèce Atindehou, Hospice G. Gracias Avakoudjo, Rodrigue Idohou, Fortuné Akomian Azihou, Achille Ephrem Assogbadjo, Aristide Cossi Adomou and Brice Sinsin
Land 2022, 11(4), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040478 - 26 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2903
Abstract
Large old trees (LOTs) are emblematic elements of the cultural landscape and can live for hundreds of years. They represent an intermediate aspect of cultural heritage, linking spirits and humans. They can also provide a range of ecosystem services. In spite of their [...] Read more.
Large old trees (LOTs) are emblematic elements of the cultural landscape and can live for hundreds of years. They represent an intermediate aspect of cultural heritage, linking spirits and humans. They can also provide a range of ecosystem services. In spite of their importance, declining numbers have been reported. This study examined the diversity of LOTs and the impact of anthropogenic threats on their preservation in three districts of southern Benin: Ketou and Abomey, which represent historical districts with royal courts, and Lokossa, which does not have a tradition as a dynastic seat. Semi-structured interviews focused on ethnobotanical aspects and storytelling were conducted with a total of 150 community leaders and traditional practitioners; these were coupled with an inventory of LOTs to demonstrate their importance in maintaining the heritage and providing ecosystem services in cultural landscapes. Diversity, cultural importance, and ethnobotanical indices were calculated to compare positive and negative attitudes towards LOTs by the local people of the study areas. A total of 270 LOT individuals belonging to 14 species were recorded. The most common species was Adansonia digitata (70 individuals), followed by Milicia excelsa (47 individuals), Ceiba pentandra (37 individuals), and Blighia sapida (25 individuals). Sacred forests and the royal palaces (ten for Abomey and three for Kétou), which are protected by a traditional veto, had the highest number of LOTs (145 individuals) belonging to nine species. Details of 79 specific uses were documented for each plant part of LOTs. The most frequently reported were related to medicinal (80.64%), cultic (16.65%), and craft uses (2.6%). Based on a standard area of 100 km2, mean Shannon diversity (H’) and evenness (J) were lower in the cultural landscape of Ketou (H′ = 0.26 ± 0.42; J = 0.23 ± 0.37) compared to Lokossa (H′ = 0.27 ± 0.32; J = 0.21 ± 0.24) and Abomey (H′ = 0.42 ± 0.37; J = 0.35 ± 0.31). The threat patterns suggest that, irrespective of the species involved, certain determining factors (urbanization (35%), the timber trade (18%), and decisions made during the Marxist–Leninist revolution in Benin in 1972 (11%)) have affected and continue to affect LOT abundance and diversity. For better management of LOTs, there is a need to promote decision-making strategies that better align human cultural values and ecological objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Landscapes)
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10 pages, 305 KiB  
Article
Investigating Change in the Willingness to Pay for a More Sustainable Tourist Destination in a World Heritage City
by Carlos Jurado-Rivas and Marcelino Sánchez-Rivero
Land 2022, 11(3), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11030439 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2142
Abstract
The willingness to pay for sustainable tourism products and services has been widely discussed in the scientific literature. However, change in the willingness to pay over time has rarely been analysed. Such studies are important for understanding the impact that the increasing debate [...] Read more.
The willingness to pay for sustainable tourism products and services has been widely discussed in the scientific literature. However, change in the willingness to pay over time has rarely been analysed. Such studies are important for understanding the impact that the increasing debate on sustainability, including environmental, economic, and social aspects, may have had on the willingness of tourists to pay more in order to ensure the sustainability of destinations. The aim of this article is to assess how the willingness of tourists to pay for sustainable tourism services has developed in the Spanish city of Cáceres, declared a World Heritage Site in 1986. Data from surveys conducted in 2012 and 2016 were used for this purpose. Logistic regression was applied to determine whether sociodemographic characteristics of tourists who visit the city influenced their willingness to pay in each year. A Chow test was applied to elucidate whether the differences between the years were statistically significant. The results obtained indicate that only the level of education determined willingness to pay, while origin, gender and age showed no effect. No significant change in the willingness to pay for sustainability was found among tourists in Cáceres between 2012 and 2016. These findings indicate that the willingness to pay for more sustainable tourism services did not increase during the period studied. We propose some measures such as a ‘municipal observatory of sustainable tourism’ in order to increase willingness to pay in this type of destination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Landscapes)
20 pages, 1324 KiB  
Article
Hotspots of Agricultural Ecosystem Services and Farmland Biodiversity Overlap with Areas at Risk of Land Abandonment in Japan
by Keiko Sasaki, Stefan Hotes, Tomohiro Ichinose, Tomoko Doko and Volkmar Wolters
Land 2021, 10(10), 1031; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101031 - 1 Oct 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 4387
Abstract
Agriculture provides a wide range of ecosystem services and has the potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation. In Japan, many of the resources associated with agroecosystems are threatened by farmland abandonment. Identifying where and to what extent agricultural ecosystem services and farmland biodiversity [...] Read more.
Agriculture provides a wide range of ecosystem services and has the potential to contribute to biodiversity conservation. In Japan, many of the resources associated with agroecosystems are threatened by farmland abandonment. Identifying where and to what extent agricultural ecosystem services and farmland biodiversity are affected by farmland abandonment is essential for developing effective strategies to counter the potential loss of these services and the biological communities that support them. Our study aimed to examine how a set of indicators for ecosystem services and biodiversity linked to agroecosystems (proportions of land dedicated to rice production and other agricultural production, proportion of agricultural land on slopes potentially providing landscape aesthetics, proportion of villages promoting rural tourism, and densities of forest edges and irrigation ponds in agricultural land) are distributed at the municipal level across the Japanese Archipelago, and to analyze their spatial patterns in relation to the distribution of farmland abandonment. It was hypothesized that hotspots of agricultural ecosystem services and farmland biodiversity occur in areas at risk of farmland abandonment owing to shared drivers. The cluster analysis identified four distinct ecosystem service bundle types, two of them representing areas specializing in agricultural production, while the other two provided high levels of cultural services and habitats for diverse biological communities. The latter two bundles were located in hilly and mountainous areas and accounted for 58% of rice production, 27% of other agricultural production, 77% of landscape aesthetics, 77% of rural tourism, 64% of forest edges, and 87% of irrigation ponds in Japan. In support of the hypothesis, farmland abandonment was pronounced in these areas, with 64% of recently abandoned fields located where 44% of agricultural land was found. This spatial overlap suggests that substantial losses of ecosystem services and biodiversity may occur if current patterns of farmland abandonment continue. In order to prevent large-scale losses of agricultural ecosystem services and farmland biodiversity, measures to counteract the ongoing abandonment trends should prioritize hilly and mountainous areas, and future studies should further evaluate the multiple functions of agricultural areas to improve policies that aim to ensure sustainable development of rural areas in Japan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Landscapes)
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13 pages, 2103 KiB  
Article
Strategies for the Management of Traditional Chestnut Landscapes in Pesio Valley, Italy: A Participatory Approach
by Paola Gullino, Maria Gabriella Mellano, Gabriele Loris Beccaro, Marco Devecchi and Federica Larcher
Land 2020, 9(12), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9120536 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3140
Abstract
Through an exploratory case study conducted in the Pesio Valley, northwest Italy, this paper proposes a framework for maintaining traditional chestnut production landscapes and addressing future development policies. The main goal was to understand how to promote a bottom-up planning approach, including stakeholder [...] Read more.
Through an exploratory case study conducted in the Pesio Valley, northwest Italy, this paper proposes a framework for maintaining traditional chestnut production landscapes and addressing future development policies. The main goal was to understand how to promote a bottom-up planning approach, including stakeholder perceptions in traditional chestnut landscape management. To ensure the sustainability of the landscape, current driving forces and their landscape effects were identified by local stakeholders using a focus group technique. Population ageing, local forestry policies directed towards supporting chestnut growers’ income, social and economic needs, and land fragmentation are the main driving forces that will influence future chestnut landscapes. The focus group participants built two scenarios of possible future development of the chestnut landscape, one characterized by the disappearance and transformation of chestnut stands, the other by their permanence and maintenance. The most recommended strategies for maintaining traditional chestnut cultivation were chestnut processing, fruit designation of origin, and the cultivation of traditional varieties. This study shows that, to preserve the traditional chestnut landscape, the participation of multiple stakeholders is a useful approach in landscape planning. This methodology could guide decision-makers and planners who desire to implement a participatory approach to a sustainable development program for traditional chestnut landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Landscapes)
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16 pages, 9470 KiB  
Article
Cultural Memories and Sense of Place in Historic Urban Landscapes: The Case of Masrah Al Salam, the Demolished Theatre Context in Alexandria, Egypt
by Fatmaelzahraa Hussein, John Stephens and Reena Tiwari
Land 2020, 9(8), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080264 - 7 Aug 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5009
Abstract
Historic urban landscapes (HULs) are composed of layers of history and memories that are embedded in physical monuments, buildings, and memorials. Physical built fabric stores both personal and cultural memory through long association with communities. Rapid changes due to demolition and redevelopment change [...] Read more.
Historic urban landscapes (HULs) are composed of layers of history and memories that are embedded in physical monuments, buildings, and memorials. Physical built fabric stores both personal and cultural memory through long association with communities. Rapid changes due to demolition and redevelopment change the nature of these places and, in turn, affect these memory storages. This paper investigates whether historical city inhabitants consider cultural memories important when managing their HULs. It further explores the effectiveness of cultural memory in creating a sense of place and enhancing the quality of life for inhabitants. The context of the demolished theatre ‘Masrah Al Salam’ in Alexandria, Egypt, was studied after city inhabitants angrily protested the theatre’s removal, indicating a strong community attachment to this lost place. A qualitative methodological approach to this study was applied by conducting on-site, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews supplemented by comments gathered from the Facebook group ‘Alexandria’s Spirit’. The QSR NVivo12 program was used as a qualitative tool for data management, analysis, and mapping intangible elements contributing to an assembly of cultural memories of this place. The study demonstrated the importance of cultural memory associated with urban elements such as iconic heritage buildings that create a sense of place and enhance the identity of our urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Landscapes)
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